Manchester United have their ‘strongest spine in years’

Date published: Monday 7th August 2017 7:07

Also, Philippe Coutinho’s transfer speculation is leading to angry calls from Liverpool fans, while Chelsea supporters wonder why Thibaut Courtois took a penalty.

Join the debate…

 

Xhaka indispensable?

Right now, if there’s one midfielder who is indispensable espescially for the system we’ve adopted it’s Xhaka. He holds the midfield together and offers something more than our other midfielders.

His vision, his passing is all fantastic but most importantly he holds the ball very well. Another player who holds the ball very well is Cazorla but he’s injured and even if he were available I doubt his fitness because of his age.

Truth is I would like a William Carvalho type player to add depth and quality but our midfield isn’t bad. I’ve always been appreciative of Coquelin and El Nenny seems to have improved a lot his running is almost as good as Kante.

the specialone

 

I thought he was outstanding yesterday – really controlled the game with authority and his range of passing is superb.

Personally I think Xhaka is the long-term replacement for Santi now. I’m not suggesting they are the same type of player but Granit is going to be the one who controls the pace of the play and moves the ball between defence and attack the way Santi did. In order to really get the best out of Xhaka, we need to pair him up with someone really mobile and energetic. That’s why someone like Seri at Nice, would be the ideal partner.

We know Xhaka can and will put the boot in but we need him to be doing more than that. Asking him to screen the back 4 and do the donkey work will just hinder him. We have a real ball playing maestro on our hands here and it’s vital we allow him to do his job.

Andy528

Gunners fans optimistic following Community Shield triumph – ‘if Sanchez stays’

Like the Emirates Cup this year, that was really entertaining. I thought the result was spot on – a draw was a very fair result but if anyone shaded it, I thought it was us. I was looking forward to watching Chelski struggle through extra time with 10 men and really not sure about this new penalty format, but as long as we won, I couldn’t give a toss.

I’m really liking both our new signings. Kolasinac already looks settled and I can’t wait to see how Lacazette does with the sort of supply he’s going to get from Ozil and Sanchez (if Sanchez stays, of course).

Something I took away from that game is that a few of our players looked really up for it and that isn’t always the case in these pre-season games. Welbeck was a constant thorn in Chelski’s side and Iwobi looks like he’s back to the sort of form that wowed everyone when he first came into the side.

Xhaka has carried on where he left off last season and could really make a difference this one if he keeps it up.

All this without Sanchez, Ozil, Rambo, Mustafi and Kos – that’s half a team that would normally expect to start. Not the first time we’ve looked good in pre-season and we know from experience that it doesn’t mean a great deal once the competition proper begins, but so far, so good. Very happy we only have to wait until Friday!

Al The Gooner

 

Still think we are two players short. Thought Xhaka had a great game and was rightly MOTM. Would love wenger to get that combative midfield player that I think we are going to need away at the big teams this season.

Lacazette looked really good, I can see him having more or as much chances as any other striker this season. Kolasinac looks like he could be the bargain of the summer. I don’t buy this notion that you have to spend 40/50m on fullbacks like City have and be better for it. All I can say is if Walker was worth 50m then how much is Kolasinac worth. Looks an AFC player all the way and physically suits the prem lge.

Enjoyed the game but now the serious business starts on friday. Would be great if we could get at least another two players in because we are going to need them to compete. No problem with the squad depth, but titles are won these days by having the best starting 11.

Steve68

 

‘If you really want to sell Coutinho, please sell the club’

Leipzig refused to sell us Keita even the price is about 85% of their revenue last season. Even the player has a release clause allowing the player to leave at 58M, they still refuse to sell. It showed their ambition. Leipzig deserved for the support and plaudit of their fans.

If FSG really let Coutinho leave, it showed us clearly that they have not change their money-ball policy, they have no ambition, they don’t care about the team, all what they did is just for selling the club out at a higher price. They are deserved for all blames from the fans.

To FSG: If you really want to sell Coutinho, please sell the club away at the same time.

Football Scouser

 

Really, really don’t want this to happen. However, these scenarios would be ok:

1. >150mn cash
2. 100mn cash + rakitic or ter stegen
3. 70mn cash + suarez
4. 120mn cash + turan

Macattack

 

They sold Suarez for £60m. If the rumours are true, I imagine they’ll not get the £150m that we need for Coutinho. If they do sell him I’d say it’ll be as low as £95.

The rumours in Spain have gone absolutely batsh*t now. I mean it’s crazy. They are saying the deal will be done by Tuesday.

I’m still thinking we won’t sell him but I’m not as totally confident as before.

Mr Makaveli

 

Underwhelming transfer policy a cause for concern at Anfield?

Yesterday Klopp said that with Moreno being “100% back” that we now have a new midfielder in Milner without having to sign someone.

We’ve had very little to go on regards a midfielder but this is surely a huge tell that we’re not going to sign a top CM. It kinda confirms what i was getting at before, in that we aren’t actually looking to sign a top CM at all.

As for CB, Van Dijk is waiting and Liverpool are hopefully waiting. If it turns out that they genuinely have no plans to sign him after their statement, I’ll be very unhappy. We desperately need another top quality CB and to not go for one will spell out the clubs ambition. The first warning sign was when the club gave Lovren a £100k/week contract. That was just odd. Over the coming days though, Van Dijk may put in a transfer request and we better be there with money in hand.

Mr Makaveli

 

Of course he needs a bigger squad but it doesn’t mean he goes out and buys anyone to fill the spaces, what I’m trying to make clear is that there is no point in signing someone for the sake of it. We are a very good side and were excellent last season, the top sides couldn’t live with us which is why we were top of the table against the top 6, we struggled to break down those stubborn teams that wanted to sit back and hit us on the break. We also lacked pace with no Mane, to fix both these problems Salah was brought in and should help with both of these deficiencies.

Our season went off the rails with injuries and the African Cup of Nations where we lost Mane and Matip for a time, we out played most teams last season, we dominated possession, chances created, we were the top scoring side in the first half of the season.

The thing with Klopp and his sides is it does take a particular type of player to fit in, athletic, high energy and tactically excellent, a team player. Im not concerned at all, as far as I’m concerned we have taken steps forward this summer, the squad is better than last seasons however you look at it and i trust klopp to get the right players and just as important i trust the system he plays. Roll on the season, I cannot wait. I will be at the Watford game next week

Ant993

 

Courtois cocky or confident to take penalty?

Why did Courtious take a penalty – I dont know but he does seem to be rather opinionated, okay his a good shot stopper and highly rated keeper but for a keeper his size I find him rather unsure with those high balls, also comes off his line too much and lastly tends to throw the ball to our wingbacks regularly with an opposing player right on top of them.

I am not too sure how we will do this season, we cannot expect to win the league 3 times in 4 years-its very rarely done, hoping for a top 3 though and a good run in the other competitions.

notnice

 

The Courtois penalty was odd considering he’s just been in goal for two penalties in a row and didn’t save either. If they wanted him to take one he should have took the second of the two pens.

manthistle

 

Depleted Chelsea missing Costa’s bite up top?

As usual, we started off far too slow. Was this tactical by Conte to concede possession and play on the counter?

We definitely missed Costa up front and he will be very hard to replace. Michy kept getting overpowered in his duels, although Morata when he came on, showed a bit more strength.

Cesc wasn’t involved as much as he should be, maybe he lacked runners off the ball running in behind their defence.

As many people here have rightly stated, we have sold/loaned more first team squad players than having new players come in, which is slightly worrying, but will hopefully be rectified in the next few weeks with 2 or 3 quality players signed.

Amz

 

I thought that Arsenal settled into their groove a lot quicker than us and their passing was slick without really causing too many problems – much like the FAC final. Overall I thought we performed better than the FAC but we are still missing that spark when Hazard is not on the pitch. But slowly but surely we worked our way into the game.

Silly challenge by Pedro and although surprised by the sending off when you see the challenge in slow motion I have to applaud the referee. Very sloppy at the free kick and this is where Cahill as captain has to get everyone focussed and aware of the pending danger

Clearly we still need new players. I think our starting 11 (when all fit) is as strong as last year, possibly even stronger, but we do not have the depth and simply cannot rely on the youth to bolster the numbers

Looking to see an improvement next weekend but would still expect 3 points against a Burnley team that have done little in the market.

CFC1905

 

Alonso and Moses found out?

We seriously need wingbacks now. Alonso and moses have been found out and will not be able to cope with the games.

I want the ox in for moses. Had another great game yesterday. Notice he didnt celebrate his pen either? Supposedly we are in negotiations but with this board. I dont think we are close to signing anyone

Phwepsi

 

I was thinking about our formation and 3-5-2 would only work with world class wing backs. The wing backs are our outlet attacking wise as well as covering defensively. We need to be able to revert to this formation when we are getting dominated in the central midfield area. Maybe this is happening when Cesc is playing due to him not being as mobile as Kante and Bakayoko.

Personally I’d like to see Chelsea go in for another winger as well as wing backs, Draxler in particular. He has good skills to beat players and has a half decent finish. I’m still unsure on Pedro as he just seems to run at a million miles an hour everywhere and doesn’t have a couple of skills up his sleeve to beat players, just runs on the shoulder of defenders (not a bad attribute).

On the wing back front, we won’t get Sandro this season, should we wait til next season to get him? Personally i would say yes, we need quality, not quantity. On the right side i’m not sure who is a quality option. It could be that we move Azpi to RWB and get VVD? That way there is still room for Christensen.

Amz

 

Bit of a lethargic performance yesterday I thought. I would agree that we need to sign two or three quality first team players – preferably to cover wingbacks (although I don’t subscribe to the “they have been found out” theory) and central midfield. The Ox would be an excellent signing in my opinion, and a boyhood Chelsea supporter, so he might fancy it.

Worryingly for me, Arsenal looked better on the break than we did. Whenever we had the chance to break quickly, rather than take it on, as we did so often successfully last season, we stepped on it and passed back or across the pitch – very frustrating. Maybe tiredness from a tough training regime was the reason?

As with the FA Cup Final we were also on the wrong end of some interesting refereeing decisions – oh well, lets hope we are getting our fair share now, rather than in the PL season.

liquidator

 

 

The ‘strongest spine of any United team in years’

Despite it’s imperfections this team has the strongest spine of any United team in years: De Gea, Bailly, Matic, Pogba and Lukaku. I expect those 5 to start when fit and I think Jose sees Valencia and probably Herrera as virtually guaranteed starters. That leaves 4-5 positions and, seeing that Mourinho is a reactive manager, I think they will depend on our opposition.

I can definitely see Mourinho fielding a 5-3-1-1 formation in the big games. We have plenty of centre backs but only Bailly fills me with confidence at the moment so it wouldn’t surprise me if our lack of quality there means that we’ll just go for quantity instead to make us compact.

Matic will hopefully make us more solid and give Pogba more license to roam and control matches. Herrera will also have a role to play, like when he marked Hazard out of the Chelsea game at Old Trafford but I’m hoping Pereira will be given a proper shot this season.

Three centre-backs, 2 wing-backs and 3 midfielders leaves 2 attackers and I think Mkhitaryan will be Mourinho’s first choice to play behind Lukaku although I’d love to see Rashford or Martial partnering the big Belgian up front. We could also sacrifice Herrera in midfield and go with 2 inside forwards or revert to 4 at the back and go with Mourinho’s trademark 4-3-3 system.

The problem with 4-3-3, however, is that we have neither got proper full-backs nor wingers. We’ve got wing-backs and inside forwards, meaning that any variatons on 3-5-2 or 3-4-3 are probably more viable at the moment, at least on paper. Like I said, though, Mourinho has almost always gone for a 4-3-3 and he might struggle to adapt to a new system.

Van Gaal, for one, never managed to get through to his players exactly what he wanted them to do when we played 3 at the back so maybe Jose will be wary of tinkering too much. He has, however, shown more flexibility here than before which can only be seen as positive. Instead of shoehorning players into unfamiliar positions he’ll pick a system that suits the players we’ve got.

roygbiv

 

Fergie’s last title winning side had vidic and Rio, Jose has lindelof and bailly. Fergie had carrick and fletcher/scholes jose has matic and pogba. Fergie had rvp and jose has lukaku. Now the backbone of both sides is strong and tall.

The success under fergie’s last 10 years was based around tall and strong players through the middle. 2008 final we had Wes Brown, Rio, Vidic, Ronaldo, Hargreaves and Carrick starting the game. I’m pretty sure they are all over 6 foot. Jose has bought in Pogba who is probably the most skilful cm around. Lukaku for a big striker is pacey and skillful, 2 ball playing centre backs and yet some on here believe we will be playing long balls because we have some tall players. One thing for certain is we won’t be bullied like we were under LVG and Moyes

fatrooney

 

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